Brands Growing Traffic Backed by Positive Guest Sentiment

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market
  • The Capital Grill
  • Seasons 52
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Truluck's
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • The Capital Grill
  • Seasons 52
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Fleming's Steakhouse
  • Ocean Prime
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • The Capital Grill
  • Seasons 52
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Fleming's Steakhouse
  • Ninety Nine

Connecting the Dots on Performance

There was a 7.8% spread in traffic growth between top and bottom performing brands in Q3.
Top performing brands kept diners coming back in Q3. Intent to return scores were 14.4pp higher than bottom performing brands.

Though the norm is for restaurants to continue to experience traffic loss year over year, top performing brands are continuously bucking the trend. During the third quarter of 2019, top performing brands based on same-store sales growth achieved same-store traffic results that were almost 8.0 percentage points higher than brands with the worst sales results*. Top performing brands are able to actually grow their guest counts per restaurant by attracting new customers as well as holding on to their current guests.

Online reviews and comments show these top performing restaurants deliver on a better experience for their guest across multiple attributes like food, service and ambiance. Furthermore, the data reveals that the actual stated intent to return from those guests in their online posts does reflect differences in traffic performance. Top performing brands* received intent to return scores that were 14.4 percentage points higher than those of underperforming brands during the third quarter of 2019.

Guest social data has proven to be an indicator of restaurant performance, particularly when it comes to intent to return.

*Comparison based on top and bottom quartiles determined by same-store sales growth rates

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    phoenix, az
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    orlando, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    los angeles, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    los angeles, ca

The long-standing trend continued in September: Guests in Orlando, Florida are the most positive restaurant guests among major metropolitan areas, while guests in San Francisco, California tend to rate their restaurant experiences less favorably.

Orlando led the country in most positive sentiment based on restaurant food, beverage, service, value and intent to return during September. Restaurant guests in Phoenix rated their experiences based on restaurant ambiance the most positive during the month.

Expectations seem to be especially high in California's major markets. Guests in San Francisco were the least positive when discussing restaurant food, service, ambiance and intent to return. In the case of Los Angeles, this DMA had the least positive sentiment based on restaurant beverages and value.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • florida62.4% Positive
  • western60.3% Positive
  • mountain plains57.7% Positive
Worst
  • california54.8% Positive
  • new england54.0% Positive
  • ny-nj52.2% Positive

Restaurant guest sentiment was positive overall across the country during September. All eleven regions of the country had over 50 percent of guest reviews and mentions classified as positive during the month.

However, only Florida and the Western region were able to achieve over 60 percent positive mentions during September. The Mountain Plains region was the third most positive, another long-standing center of positive guest sentiment in the country.

Regions with less positive restaurant sentiment are no surprise based on historical data: California, New England and New York-New Jersey. These regions have some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country and thus have saturated and mature restaurant markets, which contribute to providing guests with many comparison points and likely elevating expectations when rating their restaurant experiences.

Restaurant operators are thus required to approach sentiment differently when evaluating across regions and markets, making local benchmarks a valuable tool to assess real performance.

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The Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot is produced by White Box Social Intelligence™, a TDn2K Product™. WBSI is tracking over 192 brands to benchmark customer satisfaction and is the only online tool that integrates with operational performance data to validate the impact on financial performance. The algorithm determining ranking brands is based on sentiment and determined by White Box Social Intelligence. Brands included in this monthly snapshot must have a total of at least 250 mentions for the month. Restaurants must have a minimum number of units to be eligible as well. DMA rankings consider only the largest 25 areas.